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The Southwood Foundation and our partners Rothamsted Research are calling for the utmost ambition at the UN COP 15 global conference, to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. Both organisations are strongly committed to nature recovery and are monitoring the developments regarding a Global Biodiversity Framework due to be finalised in Montreal with significant concern.

Nature across the globe, from genetic diversity and species abundance through to habitats and entire ecosystems, is in crisis. The 2022 global Living Planet Index shows that monitored wildlife populations have experienced an average decline of almost 70% since 1970.

Natural systems are inherently complex as are socio ecological systems. Current economic models are invariably suboptimal and are built on an erroneous view that nature is a free, self-sustaining resource, with responsibility and accountability lying elsewhere. Nature plays an intrinsic and fundamental role in tackling climate change as well as contributing to the wellbeing of the natural systems on which we rely. The status quo persists in placing us outside nature and yet our wellbeing and prosperity are bounded by the health of our planet.

Actions needed

COP 15 is a vital opportunity to halt the decline and put in place ambitious action for nature recovery. The signatories below call on governments to do the following:

  • Agree a legally binding global treaty to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 with clear measurable targets that will achieve recovery of wildlife abundance and stop extinctions.

 

  • Ensure action plans recognise the interlinked nature of the climate change and biodiversity crises. The challenges of carbon, the biodiversity crisis and the need for the UN Sustainable Development Goals are symptoms of an ailing system and their mutually supportive solutions must be considered holistically.

 

  • Establish appropriate accountability mechanisms, having due regard to the complexity of the issues, with consequences and timeframes for implementation delivered through National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and regular reviews of progress to 2030.

 

  • Put in place the measures needed to standardise metrics and achieve consistency of approach and reporting across sectors in assessing the double materiality of impacts, both in terms of our impacts on nature and dependency on nature of our systems and economies.

 

  • Refocus public and private finance towards nature-based economies which will also result in greater wellbeing, innovation and economic opportunities. Natural capital must be built into strategic planning, putting nature at the heart of economic recovery and job creation, and identifying stranded assets such as farming in biodiversity sensitive areas and industries reliant on threatened ecosystems.

 

  • Ensure indigenous communities and countries with greatest custody of the world’s biodiversity receive effective financial and practical support to protect and restore nature.

 

  • Build equity and inclusion into this process. Valuing nature simply in monetary terms is to disregard the intrinsic value placed on it by many people and cultures and blinds us to opportunities to engage all cultures and approaches in nature recovery.

 

  • Engage with the public, build a positive case for change, create dialogue and ownership of plans and provide excellent leadership are paramount. The UK government needs to strengthen, not weaken, environmental protections at home and all stakeholders should be mobilised immediately.

 

Ultimately, the most important test of COP 15 will be the outcomes it achieves. We believe that nature can recover and that such action can also help us tackle societal challenges. However, we can only achieve this, if we act collectively and have a real belief that we can change course. We must rise to the challenge of living in harmony with the natural world, and do this with the utmost urgency, whilst we still have the chance.

Mark Southwood                               Angela Karp

Chair of Trustees, TSF                      Director and Chief Executive, Rothamsted Research

 

 

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